What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of primary health care that has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years, and is integrated into the hospital system in China and other countries. It includes cAupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, traditional remedial massage (An Mo Tui Na), exercise and breathing therapy (such as Qi Gong), and dietary and lifestyle advice. In Australia, the most popular forms of TCM treatments are acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. The primary feature of modern TCM is the premise that good health relies on the restoration and maintenance of harmony, balance and order to the individual. TCM takes a holistic approach to understanding normal function and disease processes, and focuses as much on illness prevention as it does on treatment, holistically promoting overall health and wellbeing.
Doesn’t acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture, when performed by a properly trained and qualified practitioner, is not excessively painful. Pain responses to acupuncture vary from patient to patient, and depend on a few different factors. The quality and thickness of needle used can make a difference, as can the practitioner's skill level, and the patient's condition and sensitivity. If you already know you have sensitive skin and feel pain quite easily, please inform your practitioner and they can use extra fine and sharp needles, or discuss using another form of treatment. Please also inform your practitioner if you have a phobia of needles.
What is “Qi” & how does it affect the body?
"Qi" is the Chinese word for the fundamental substance of the Universe. It is generally translated to mean, "energy", however philosophically speaking, all energy and matter is broken up into different types of Qi. So too with the body. When healthy, an abundant supply of qi (pronounced chee) or "life energy" flows through the body's meridians (a network of invisible channels through the body). If the flow of qi in the meridians is blocked, or there is not enough Qi, then the body fails to maintain harmony, balance and order, and illness follows. This be from stress, overwork, poor diet, viral diseases, weather and environmental conditions, and other lifestyle factors.
How do TCM practitioners know if Qi is out of balance?
Imbalance of Qi, Blood or body fluid becomes evident to TCM practitioners through identifiable signs of bodily dysfunction.
First, we apply long established TCM diagnostic criteria to identify the possible sources of the presenting complaint. TCM practitioners look carefully at a person's health history, personality, diet, lifestyle, environment and family factors to find signs of health and dysfunction. We pay attention to the presenting condition as well as the medical history, general constitution, and the pulse and tongue. Our primary aim is to address the complaint you have come in to treat, however sometimes the underlying causes of disease are less obvious and are associated with lifestyle or other contributing factors. We take a Biao/Ben (Root and Branch) approach, treating the symptoms as well as the underlying causes.
How does my TCM practitioner make clinical decisions?
The theoretical frameworks of TCM seeks to identify underlying symptom patterns that indicate how the body is or has become dysfunctional. Clinical decision-making and patient management strategies are also influenced by contemporary Western approaches to health care, including infection control practices, medical imaging and pathology test results, and known interactions of herbal medicines with pharmaceuticals and other therapeutic substances. We also take sustainability into account, in terms of whether or not patients are comfortable with advice and able to implement it into their lives. For example, dietary advice that is given in China is culturally very different from the Australian diet, so we are unlikely to recommend something that is not readily available or culturally acceptable. We also like patients to want to comply with our suggestions, so we try to tailor our programs to suit you, rather than an archaic framework. We use modern nutrition alongside traditional medicine to produce the most favourable and clinically efficacious outcome.
Doesn’t Chinese Herbal Medicine use rhinoceros horn and other endangered species?